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Social Sci LibreTexts

12.11: Scholarly Periodicals (aka "Journals")

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  • Characteristics that help you identify a periodical as scholarly:
    • Often contain lengthy articles (five to fifty pages)

    • Generally confine the subject matter to a single, very specific aspect of a subject area (e.g., music theory, European political science, film studies, language development)

    • Contain articles with footnotes or cited reference pages. The cited references allow the reader to consult the same material that the author used in sch-192x300.jpghis/her research

    • Are intended for an academic or scholarly audience

    • Use technical or specialized vocabulary

    • Publish articles written by academics, specialists or researchers in the field (as opposed to articles written by journalists reporting on or synthesizing research)

    • Often publish reviews of the literature

    • Often include articles with charts or tables: news photos and other types of graphics are not often used, save in the case of articles on visual subjects, such as art, design or architecture

    • Are often produced under the editorial supervision of a professional association (e.g., Journal of the American Medical Association) or by a scholarly press (e.g., Elsevier, Pergamon)

    • Contain little or no advertising

    • Are issued less frequently than popular or trade periodicals

    Again, hundreds of databases help the searcher locate articles in scholarly periodicals. A few of the most valuable include Academic Search Premier, Google Scholar, JSTOR, and Web of Science. Also, an individual scholar may provide links to the articles s/he has produced on a personal or institutional website, and the journals themselves may offer a searchable archive, although there is almost always a charge involved in getting access to a specific article from the journal’s own archive.